UK to get Predator B

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by AndyPipkin, Sep 5, 2006.

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  1. DATE:05/09/06
    SOURCE:Flight International

    UK awaits US approval to purchase Predator Bs

    By Graham Warwick

    Two UAVs to support British operations in Afghanistan as lead-in to Project Dabinett

    The UK Ministry of Defence is awaiting US government approval for its planned purchase of two General Atomics Predator B unmanned air vehicles to meet an urgent operational requirement. The development follows UK Treasury permission for funding to be brought forward from the MoD's Project Dabinett long-range, long-endurance intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) programme.

    A letter of request has been submitted, and Congressional notification of the proposed sale is expected soon, says Air Cdr Nick Gordon, the UK's director equipment capability, ISTAR. The UK wants to field the UAVs to provide a full-motion video capability to support operations in Afghanistan by May next year. The purchase will include electro-optical/infrared and Lynx synthetic-aperture radar payloads and both line-of-sight and beyond line-of-sight communications equipment. Initially, Gordon says, the UAVs will be operated from the control centre at Nellis AFB in Nevada, where UK personnel are already part of the team operating US Air Force MQ-1 Predators over Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Gordon told last week's AUVSI Unmanned Systems North America conference in Orlando, Florida that the Predator purchase will be paid for "in a novel way" that involves bringing forward funding from the Dabinett project to fill a gap in the UK's ISR capability. Now in the concept phase, Dabinett is scheduled for an "initial gate" decision in February 2007, with full operational capability planned for 2017.

    Dabinett will provide an "adaptable ISR" capability to include cross-cueing sensors and systems, target acquisition and potentially weapons delivery. Although platforms like Northrop Grumman's RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance UAV are candidates, Gordon says the UK is also looking into the potential for a UAV with a three-month endurance based on hydrogen fuel-cell power technology being explored by Qinetiq. "It's early days," he says.

    At full operational capability, Dabinett is to provide "deep and persistent" ISR over enemy territory, which could involve the use of satellites or require a low-observable UAV. "We will have a UAV capability. Equally it may involve overhead capability," he says, adding: "It will be a system of systems approach."
  2. UK awaits US approval to purchase Predator Bs

    What the fcuk is that about? Presumably our money isn't good enough or they fear we represent a terror threat to them.

    Why we can't develop our own amazes me, we certainly have the brains.
  4. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    If it's any consolation, the USA doesn't do much of its own drone development: all its current stuff comes out of Israeli work during the various wars since 1967 (according to a programme on Discovery or whatever a couple of weeks ago).
  5. In fact we haven't designed much of anything on our own for decades to be honest.

    Very sad situation.

    OK on the info AlienFTM - don't have Discovery Channel.
  6. Yeah but then people whine about 'why didn't we buy off the shelf'. BAE have submitted plans for a stealthy UAV to the USA, but were rejected.

    Nimrod MR4, Harrier GR9, Hawk, Lynx etc.
  7. Dont forget also the :

    NH90 & AH MK1
  8. The Isrealis made the early running in UAV's (the air vehicle in the UK Watchkeeper programme are Israeli designs), but the US designs and builds its own now and has done for a few years. This is especially the case with larger UAV's like Predator and Global Hawk.
  9. Nimrod is based on a 1950's design, Hawk, Lynx and Harrier were all 1970's designs.
  11. erm, we sort of did and, ahem, its like in service, Yeah sure it took twice as long and 10 times the price to develop and is shiite in the mountains but its British dammit. Predator was mentioned years ago and disregarded due to a number of issues, I believe being a pilot to fly the thing for one.

    Anyway, I thought 18 Bty were on there way to t' stan with that new Desert Hawk malarky for just this reason, yes I know it looks like one of those toys that came sellotaped to the outside of Action or Warlord (launched by catapult for fecks sake) but its still eyes in the air etc, I do have this nagging thought that this is Crab Air trying to buy back a bit of the ISTAR game.
  13. I suspect that you refer to the wholly shoite and now retired Phoenix? Desert Hawk is a US design and is a world away from Predator B.
  14. Yeah but their all new arent they, don't tell me that MR4 is 1950's or that Flynx is 1970s, or that the World beating Hawk 128, 100, 200 etc are 1970s
  15. :wink:

    But its still British (gawd bless the queen, meat and two veg, my old mans a walrus etc)